A sore throat is the general name for 2 common conditions:
Sore Throat Due to Inflammation
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Many things can cause a sore throat such as:
Sore throats are more common children, teens, or people aged 65 years and older. Other factors that may increase your chance of a sore throat include:
Along with the sore throat, you may have other symptoms such as:
Call your doctor if you:
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests calling your child's doctor if your child has a sore throat that goes on for more than 1 day (no matter what other symptoms are present).
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Your doctor will do a physical exam. This involves looking closely at your mouth, throat, nose, ears, and the lymph nodes in your neck.
Treatment depends on the cause of the sore throat. Options may include:
Self-care steps you can do at home:
To help reduce your chances of a sore throat:
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology
Choby BA. Diagnosis and treatment of streptococcal pharyngitis. Am Fam Physician. 2009;79(5):383-390.
Pharyngitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114913/Pharyngitis. Updated August 25, 2016. Accessed September 27, 2017.
Sore throat. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/sore-throat. Updated May 2014. Accessed September 27, 2017.
Sore throat. Patient website. Available at: https://patient.info/health/sore-throat-leaflet. Accessed October 19, 2016. Accessed September 27, 2017
The difference between a sore throat, strep and tonsillitis. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/ear-nose-throat/Pages/The-Difference-Between-a-Sore-Throat-Strep-and-Tonsillitis.aspx. Updated February 26, 2016. Accessed September 27, 2017.
Throat problems. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/symptom/throat-problems. Accessed September 27, 2017.
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11/10/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T474266/Steroids-for-pharyngitis: Hayward G, Thompson M, Heneghan C, Perera R, Del Mar C, Glasziou P. Corticosteroids for pain relief in sore throat: Systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2009;339:b2976.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcie L. Sidman, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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